Following an exhilarating Super Regionals that showcased a multitude of upsets and close matches, the highly anticipated Smite World Championship 2016 (SWC 2016) has finally arrived. The four-day event at Hi-Rez’s studio in Atlanta, Georgia began January 7th, starting with the knockout stage and culminating in the finals on Sunday.
Building off last year’s wildly entertaining tournament, and fresh off their introduction into the console market (Smite will be featured at this year’s XBOX One Invitational), all of the ingredients are there for yet another spectacular championship run.
Last year showcased some great players and some well-rounded teams, with the finals ultimately coming down to a European versus North American showdown.
2015 showcased impressive skill, this year to be even better
On the European side were the Titans, a surprise team with Scandinavian roots that excelled at outworking and outplaying their opponents. On the North American side was COGnitive Prime, a skilled group of players with high levels of execution, team synergy, and team fighting expertise that previously played under The Game Changers roster. What ensued was an ultra-competitive final series that went all five games, with COG Prime ultimately winning and taking the SWC title.
Fresh off their championship run at last year’s SWC, COG Prime returns again, this time under the direction of flagship organization Cloud9. The roster largely remains intact from last year (their solo laner has been replaced recently), but the competition has grown much fiercer.
The European teams have risen exponentially in skill, a testament to the reason why the Titans did not even qualify for this year’s SWC. Cloud9 will enter the tournament once again as one of the favorites, but the road to victory will be much more challenging than last year.
The first order of business will be the placement matches on Thursday, which will determine the final six teams to advance to the knockout stage. Eight unseeded teams will fight it out over those remaining six spots, with all matches being Best of 1s. One win and they’re in, two losses and they’ll be on the outside looking in, wondering where it all went wrong.
If you’re looking for a quick idea of our predictions, we’ve created a bracket of how we predict each matchup to turn out, with further in depth analysis below.
Placement match predictions
1st match – Epsilon vs. Isurus Gaming
Epsilon had one of the most dominating seasons in the history of EU competitive Smite, finishing with a nearly perfect record of 27-1. While they have several players that are not only considered the best in Europe but in the entire world, jungler Adapting stands out above the rest. He’s one of the vocal leaders of this team who brings a strong competitive presence to every game.
Although Epsilon was upset in the Super Regionals, falling to Paradigm in a highly competitive battle, they are clearly in contention to win this entire tournament.
Meanwhile Isurus Gaming hails from the Latin American region. Isurus had an unprecedented run through the Pro League, going 10-0 and sweeping the competition at the Latin American Regionals. A lack of strong competition from top to bottom in their region does leave questions as to how good this team actually is. Their only other international competition, the Smite Masters, showed they weren’t quite ready for the big stage.
Epsilon is the clear favorite here, and they shouldn’t have any problems beating Isurus Gaming.
2nd match – paiN Gaming vs. Oh My God B
paiN Gaming showed their merit when they knocked off last year’s Brazilian champions, INTZ E-Sports, in the Regional Championship. They’ve steadily improved over the years, but they face the same obstacles that Isurus Gaming does, a lack of competition at all levels.
Not much is known about the Chinese region in its entirety, but OMG.B will once again return to the world stage after placing 5th in last year’s SWC. Can they build off of their success at this year’s Worlds? This should be a very close matchup and provide some informative insight into how far the Chinese region has come.
In the end, OMG.B uses their experience to knock off paiN Gaming.
3rd match – Enemy Esports vs. Avant Garde
Enemy Esports is one of the surprise teams at this year’s SWC. Not many people predicted them advancing out of the NA region, but here they are. While they have a team of recognized players with experience, they will be a clear underdog throughout the tournament.
Avant Garde will be representing the Oceania region, with their roots in Australia. They acquired the Incite roster in 2015, and are a close group of friends. Rowe is considered to be the best player in the Oceania region, and he’ll need to be at the top of his game in this tournament.
Enemy shocked everyone by grabbing the number two seed in NA, and they’ll look to build on their success in the placement matches. Avant Garde will give them some stiff competition, but in the end, Enemy should be victorious. If you’re looking to bet on a potential upset, this is one of the games I would choose.
4th match – Fnatic vs. QG
Who was the one team to shatter Epsilon’s dream of a perfect season? Fnatic, of course.
To no one’s surprise, the European juggernaut organization has yet another strong contender again. They finished in 4th place at last year’s SWC and feature a roster of players that have been together for over two years. They finished second in Europe this year, with a 21-7 record.
QG is a heavy underdog in this matchup after securing the number 2 seed in China. This is largely the same roster of Team DID from last year’s SWCm which didn’t fair too well. Can they pull off an upset at this year’s SWC?
I can’t see QG pulling this out here against a pretty strong Fnatic team. If Fnatic shows up, they win this match.
Winner’s bracket (dependent on previous match predictions)
5th match – Epsilon vs. OMG.B
Epsilon will again be a clear favorite in this matchup, as the Chinese region as a whole is undervalued.
6th match – Enemy vs. Fnatic
This should be a really fun matchup of two teams that know each other’s tactics very well. In the end, Fnatic is a slight favorite here. This is another potential upset game though, and I slightly favor Enemy pulling it off.
Loser’s bracket (dependent on previous match predictions)
7th match – Isurus Gaming vs. paiN Gaming
A battle between Latin America and South America, with the winner advancing to the knockout stage and the loser going home. Look for the experience and pedigree of paiN Gaming to pull this one out.
8th match – Avant Garde vs. QG
Avant Garde will be favored in this match thanks to their experience and just the lack of competition currently at the Chinese level.